Artist: Reiko Uchytil
Reiko Uchytil, IOWA
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My journey with clay has been a life long one, I grew up in a potters studio. I am a second-generation potter. I find myself blessed and fortunate to study under master potters, Steve and Miky Cunningham. (Aka Dad and Mom) I began doing shows in 2013 as an emerging artist at the Des Moines Arts Festival.
I studied at the University of Iowa, receiving a BA in Health and Human Physiology, BA in Psychology, and a minor in Dance. But through it all I maintained my passion and love for art, particularly ceramics.
I continue to explore the endless possibilities and versatility of clay. My current body of work is inspired by elements from the North American prairie. Motifs consisting mostly of hares (rabbits), birds, flowers, and insects. I have recently been playing with new animal images and expanding on more varieties of flowers and birds.
I bring these ideas to life through a couple of different processes. The first being sgraffito. “A form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing.” I love the graphic black and white finish and finishing it off by adding a pop of color. My other works are the opposite process of mishima. A technique of inlaying slip, underglaze, or even clay into a contrasting clay body, the main clay body of the pottery piece. This technique allows for extremely fine, intricate design work with hard, sharp edges that can be difficult to reliably replicate in any other way. “ It allows me to create a graphic and detailed piece that is mostly a pop of color with some black and white.
I use two clay bodies, porcelain and b-clay.
I finish my work in one of my two kilns, sometimes both. (Some pieces are triple fired!) The first being a cone 10 reduction firing. The other being midrange soda firing.